So you just dropped a tidy sum to attend a seminar or some other three-day event. Now it's over and you're exhausted. Your client work is backed up. You have a fistful of business cards to connect with. And your family would like some face time. Time to get back into the swing of life, right? Wrong.
I go to A LOT of seminars. Rubbing shoulders with my colleagues, talking over dinner and debating our hottest industry issues at a live event is honestly one of my secret weapons to success.
Here's a checklist of 12 lessons from any seminar you can apply to future events to maximize your momentum:
- Collect business cards - Just remember these are not “business cards". They are “people". Each card you collect is attached with an obligation to listen to that person and follow up.
- Write a note to niggle your noggin - Take a second right then and there to write something on the back of their business card that will remind you of your conversation. Don't trust yourself to remember. These events can be draining. Just make a note.
- Categorize each business card - Take 4 rubber bands and put each card into one of these categories: a) potential client, b) joint venture, c) general and d) stalker/creepy person (hopefully this is a small pile). Piles “a" & “b" should be a priority for you to follow up with when you get home. Pile “c" can take a few days but don't forget them. And pile “d" you can destroy privately.
- Keep a portable notebook or recorder with you - You're going to get some brilliant ideas. Save them for posterity immediately. Also make sure you make a note of any follow up action you promise. Personally, I keep a spiral bound index card booklet with me. The paper is firm enough it doesn't rip. Then I can detach them at home and sort out my thoughts.
- Take lots of pictures and upload online - I have the tiniest little Casio Exilim camera that's no bigger than a credit card! And I take a ton of pictures. People LOVE seeing them later. Be sure to get their name, business and website (A lot of folks have more than one website. Ask first).
- Show genuine curiosity - You never know when you are a good fit for someone's business. Or if you might form a new friendship. Ask about them. Then shut your mouth and really listen. (It's good practice).
- Do something unexpected - This isn't just some karmic ideal. It's a very real business (and life) principle. A great example of that was what my husband, John did for Marlon Sanders. In a nutshell, John was just being John - paying attention to his surroundings and responsive to people. He had no idea who Marlon “was". Well he helped get Marlon out of a bind before his presentation without any expectation. Marlon not only mentioned my business from the stage in front of over 400 people, but he dedicated an entire ezine to lionizing John, including a link to my site. (Thanks to Marlon, John now has god-like status in our house).
- Get away from the same old crowd - It's tempting to hang with the people you know. Especially when you don't see your online friends that often. That's fine. Just make sure you take some spins around the hallway and forge some new friendships, too.
- Take mini breaks - You're getting bombarded with a lot of information and a lot of different energies. It's easy to get depleted. Mini breaks will keep you going. But don't miss an entire presentation if you can help it. You will undoubtedly miss the biggest aha moment of the seminar.
- Do NOT make deals or promises - The excitement makes this a hotspot of deal-making, but don't. Not yet. Talk about it. Brainstorm. Come up with different scenarios. But don't talk money or legal issues until you're back in a sane, stable environment - like home.
- DO buy extended packages from the speakers - I didn't “get" this when I first started going to seminars. First of all, you will never remember everything you heard from a speaker. Total immersion is the only way to really get those lessons to soak in.
- Plan to take 1-2 days off work for follow up -Here is where 90% of the people miss the boat. You have all those business cards and connections. Remember the categories and the notes we made? Now it's going to be easy for you to follow up. Send out a short, friendly email to categories, “a", “b" and “c". (I try to add a personal touch to each one, but you don't have to. It's time well spent, though. Taking that extra minute really separates you from the masses. ) However, if you send out a group blast, be sure to use the BCC (blind carbon copy) so you don't expose everyone's emails - that is a huge pet peeve of mine. This is a nice time to have those photos uploaded.
Some people actually keep a small digital recorder around their necks. Great idea!
Secondly, you always get a much better deal onsite! If you're moved by a speaker, then let that person teach you his or her expertise. Seminars are the best places to find and connect with your mentor. (Now that I think about it, every mentor I've had I met in person at a seminar first. Hmmm. I don't know if that's so for everyone, but I believe in the power of taking a piece of a dynamic, successful speaker home with you. )
Warning: Do NOT sign them up automatically for anything, even f~ree stuff like an ezine or e-course. It's okay to include a link to your site in your signature line or the P. S. , but don't assume they want your materials unless they opt in. A phone call or a postcard will make you stand out even more.
Like I said, seminars have become my business bread and butter. They can work for you too. Will I see you at the next event?
International copywriting trainer, author and speaker, Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero has been a freelance writer and journalist for over 25 years. Her words have made her clients hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now she focuses her vast experience on teaching others the skill of copywriting. Lorrie is the author of a highly acclaimed copywriting course, creator of the Red Hot Copywriting Bootcamp and founder of Copy Campus, a unique membership resource site designed to support copywriters and entrepreneurs on all levels. Visit her site to learn more at http://www.red-hot-copy.com.